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Disability Rights Legal Center Newsletter
Good News Report
DRLC Newsletter

Friday, March 16, 2012

In This Issue
Paula Pearlman Speaks at Law Students with Disabilities Conference
DRLC Welcomes Michelle Uzeta, Our New Legal Director
Radio Host Interviews Surisa Rivers About 'Sidewalk Insanity'
DRLC Partners with Loyola Marymount University
DRLC Remembers Friend, Disability Advocacy Nick DeWitt
Meet the DRLC at This Year's Abilities Expo L.A.
Register for CLRC's 2012 Cancer Rights Conferences
How to Help

Paula Pearlman Speaks at National Association
of Law Students with Disabilities Conference


NALSWD Executive Board at conference
NALSWD Executive Board at the conference

Paula Pearlman, DRLC Executive Director, participated in the annual conference of the National Association of Law Students with Disabilities (NALSWD) at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., during the weekend of March 9 to March 11. NALSWD is a coalition of law students dedicated to disability advocacy and the achievement of equal access, inclusion, diversity and non-discrimination in legal education and practice. Ms. Pearlman joined Dan Goldstein, partner with Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP, and Karla Gilbride, attorney with Mehri & Skalet, in a panel discussion titled "Entrance to the Profession." They discussed their roles in lawsuits against the American Bar Association and Law School Admission Council on behalf of students with disabilities. 

DRLC Welcomes Michelle Uzeta, Our New Legal Director


Michelle Uzeta has joined the DRLC as Legal Director. During her nineteen years as an attorney, Ms. Uzeta has proven to be a skilled litigator, dedicated advocate and strong leader for people with disabilities and others facing discrimination. As Legal Director, she will oversee the litigation of high impact lawsuits, as well as representation of individuals facing discrimination. "Michelle's passion for our work and our clients, along with her wealth of knowledge and experience that she brings to her role as Legal Director, will advance legal and policy issues that are critical to the disability rights movement," states Paula Pearlman, Executive Director. "We are very excited to welcome her to the DRLC." Ms. Uzeta will draw on her experience as counsel with a private disability rights firm, Litigation Director with Southern California Housing Rights Center and Associate Managing Attorney with Disability Rights California, where she handled cases raising claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, FHAA and related state laws. In addition to her role as a litigator, Ms. Uzeta will be actively involved with the DRLC's clinical program for law student externs, as well as management of attorneys and administrative staff.  For more detailed information about Ms. Uzeta, read the media announcement.  

Radio Host Interviews Surisa Rivers About 'Sidewalk Insanity'

 McIntyre In The Morning Show logo

On Monday, March 12, DRLC Senior Staff Attorney Surisa Rivers and client Mark Willits were interviewed by radio personality Doug McIntyre on his KABC morning show regarding the DRLC's class action lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles for its failure to provide pedestrian rights of way that are accessible to people with mobility disabilities. McIntyre blamed the City of Los Angeles for breaking up the sidewalks with its city planted trees and then neglecting to repair the damage they caused. He went on to criticize the City for trying to shift the cost and liability for the sidewalks onto home and business owners. Mr. Willets, who has quadriplegia and uses a wheelchair, talked about how broken sidewalks and missing curb cuts impact the lives of people with disabilities, including the dangers of falling out of their chairs and being hit by cars. Ms. Rivers explained to McIntyre and his listeners that the City is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because the sidewalks are not accessible. At the end of the show McIntyre announced that he was holding a "Sidewalk Insanity Contest" and asked residents to email him photos of damaged sidewalks in their neighborhood, which he will post on the station's website. Listeners will vote and the winner will get a freshly poured redone sidewalk. Click here to listen to the show (the segment begins about ten minutes into the show). Click here for the Sidewalk Insanity Contest.

DRLC Partners with Loyola Marymount University


The DRLC is partnering with Loyola Marymount University's Special Education Program. Maronel Barajas, Senior Staff Attorney for DRLC's Education Advocacy Program, will teach an undergraduate course at the university titled "Special Education Advocacy & The Law." After taking this course, the future teachers will understand how to advocate on behalf of their students during Individualized Education Program meetings, and help their students access the services they need. In addition, DRLC staff will serve on LMU's Special Education Program Advisory Board consisting of LMU faculty, as well as teachers and administrators from various school districts. On March 15, Anna Rivera, staff attorney in DRLC's Education Advocacy Program, participated in an advisory board meeting. The board members discussed service delivery models, LMU's other community collaborations, and steps the university is taking to better educate and prepare students considering a career in education.

DRLC Remembers Friend, Disability Advocate Nick DeWitt


Nick DeWitt
Nick DeWitt

It is with the deepest regret that we announce the death of our friend, Nicholas DeWitt. Nick's legal curriculum vitae is both extensive and prestigious, but we knew him as a champion of the rights of people with disabilities. He served as President of our Board of Directors from 2002-2004 and was a member-at-large for many years before and after. Nick met his wife, Barbara Krieg, through our organization and even after their relocation to his beloved Hawaii, Nick continued to support and work with the DRLC. In fact, this past October, Nick conducted a continuing education seminar with the DRLC on the mediation of disability rights cases. Nick made a profound impact on all of us who knew him and worked with him.  We miss him every day. Through his family's request, we are accepting donations in Nick's memory. Please click here to make a donation.   

Save the Date    

Friday, March 30 - Sunday, April 1 

Meet the DRLC at This Year's Abilities Expo Los Angeles  

 Abilities Expo logo     

The Disability Rights Legal Center is participating in this year's Abilities Expo in Los Angeles. Come find us in booth #921 and learn about our programs and services. Abilities Expo is the trusted source where people with disabilities, their families, seniors, vets, caregivers and healthcare professionals gain knowledge and empowerment (and have a little fun!). For more than 30 years, Abilities Expo has also provided an excellent forum for companies with disability products and services to reach out and enhance the lives of this Community.

Dates and Times of Abilities Expo L.A. are as follows:
Friday, March 30 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, March 31 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Sunday, April 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Expo is free and open to the public, but you must register either in advance or at the event. For information and early registration,
visit http://www.abilitiesexpo.com/losangeles/index.html

2012 CLRC Cancer Rights Conference Logo  

Register for CLRC's 2012 Cancer Rights Conferences  


Registration is now open for Cancer Legal Resource Center's 2012 Cancer Rights Conferences! The CLRC will be hosting conferences in Boston, MA, on May 29; Chicago, IL, on September 7; Central Valley, CA, on October 5; and Houston, TX on October 19. Each of these conferences will bring together cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, attorneys, health care professionals, and other members of the cancer community to learn about subjects including health insurance, health care reform, employment, and taking time off work and disability insurance.  To register, please visit http:cancerrightsconference.org. For more information about becoming a sponsor or partner of the CLRC's National Cancer Rights Conferences, click here. 

How to Help   

Shop at Ralphs and Defend Rights of People with Disabilities  
Ralph's Community Contributions Program logo

Thank you so much for championing the rights of people with disabilities by supporting the DRLC through Ralphs Community Contribution Program. The DRLC uses every dollar donated from this program to serve people with disabilities. Please visit www.ralphs.com  to both re-register and to register.

Champion the Rights of People with Disabilities by Shopping, Searching Online  


Support Disability Rights Legal Center simply by shopping and searching online. Become an iGive member and select DRLC as one of your causes, then go shopping by clicking on an iGive link to one of the hundreds of participating retailers, including Amazon.com, Bed Bath & Beyond, DisneyStore.com, eBay, Expedia.com, Macy's, NORDSTROM.com, ProFlowers, Sport Chalet, Travelocity. Causes always receive 100% of the donation amount advertised on iGive's website. You can also contribute simply by using iGive's search engine. 


The online credit card donation feature is available on the Make a Donation page of the DRLC website. This quick and easy function can be used for general donations.   



Visit the How You Can Help page of our website to volunteer as a pro bono attorney on a disability rights case, work as a student law clerk or assist with intake and administrative responsibilities.


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DRLC Group Photo 2011
Disability Rights Legal Center Staff October 2011